This afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee defeated two amendments related to the Medicare Commission. The first amendment (offered by Sen. Cornyn (D6/165)), which would have eliminated the Medicare Commission altogether, lost 14-9.
The other defeated amendment was offered by Sen. Kyl (D7/130). This amendment, support of which was urged by NRLC, was more limited than Sen. Cornyn’s amendment. The Kyl amendment sought eliminate a particular provision that gives the Medicare Commission almost unlimited powers to change Medicare in order to reduce Medicare payments to fit with the limits on growth it is designed to achieve (see blog immediately below for more analysis, also available at http://powellcenterformedicalethics.blogspot.com/2009/09/nrlc-urges-support-of-amendments-to.html).
Although Sen. Kyl spoke in favor of the amendment and sought to highlight many of the dangers of rationing that could be present in this Commission structure, the amendment was ultimately voted down on party lines on a procedural issue. [All amendments are required to show how they will be funded using offsets in the existing bill. Sen. Kyl argued, unsuccessfully, that his amendment needed no offset. ]
One amendment related to this issue remains, Sen. Bunning's Amendment D3 (135). It is to be hoped that many of Sen. Kyl's strong arguments of the danger of such a Commission will be raised again.